A COUPLE who have cared for 27 children over 13 years have made a plea for an investor to help stump up the cash needed to pay for their home, which they could be made to leave by April.

Debbie Mossemenear, aged 60, and her husband John, aged 62, are facing losing their home near Abergavenny which they have rented from Llanover Estate for 21 years, because the property management company is selling off the building as part of a business restructure.

They have been offered the chance to purchase the house for £425,000 - a sum too high for the couple. And after Mrs Mossemenear said she received a torrent of abuse after her daughters set up a GoFundMe page to raise money towards the house, the carers are now hoping a wealthy investor could swoop in.

Free Press Series: Debbie says she has nothing against Llanover Estate, which owns the house

And they have committed to donating the money raised to charity once they eventually leave the home.

The Mossemenears, who own a small property elsewhere that is too small for them to foster from, can sell that to raise a quarter of the money needed.

Explaining a year and a half of uncertainty, Mrs Mossemenear said: “We were first informed we’d have to leave the property in autumn 2019. We were told we’d have to leave February 2020, which was a big shock and very upsetting. Fortunately we were given an extension until May 2020, because a child was transitioning to another home.

“Then the pandemic struck, and everything went on hold until October 2020, when we were given another notice to leave by April 2021.

“In that time we have relentlessly tried to explore every option. We’ve spoken to every financial advisor we can think of to see how we could try and secure funding ourselves.

“It’s all getting very real now and it’s heartbreaking to think that we may not be able to continue offering the number of places we have been able to so far, if we have to move to a much smaller property.

“The GoFundMe page was a last shot really at trying to raise as much as we could, and we’re extremely grateful to the people who’ve donated, but we’ve had awful abuse.

“It’s been an extremely uncertain time, and stressful with this hanging over us and the pandemic. But we are trying to keep everything as normal and positive as possible for the kids.”

The pair have been fostering at the home for 13 years, and take up to three placements at a time.

On how they got into fostering, Mrs Mossemenear said: “It was John who actually got me into it. I am from a fostering family - my mother fostered - and I didn’t want to do it.

"I thought I couldn’t love another child as much as my own children, and didn’t think that would be fair. But it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

“John persuaded me to do it after talking about it for three years, and we’ve not looked back. We wanted to give something back.”

Since the GoFundMe page was set up earlier this month, the abuse has become almost unbearable - and the pair have vowed not to look at comments on social media posts about them anymore.

But Mrs Mossemenear says they have now decided that, to prove they are not in it for themselves, they’ll donate any money they receive through donations to a children’s charity once they leave the home.

“We think that’s the right thing to do to make sure people realise we’re not what some are saying we are,” she said. “Some of the things I’ve seen written about us have not been nice at all, and - for those who don’t know us - I can understand some of the comments.”

A further attempt to get Llanover Estate to reconsider selling the house was unsuccessful earlier this month, but the couple have said the company has been helpful throughout.

“It’s certainly getting to crunch time now,” said Mrs Mossemenear.

“We’ve thought about the criticism we’ve received, and we are aware this is an awful lot of money we’re asking for.

“We’d like to discuss any propositions investors are interested in coming to us with, to potentially buy the property and rent it back to us, or to come to an agreement where we take on part of a mortgage.

“It’s been difficult. Some people think this job is easy, and think we’re just after a big house to get as much money as possible. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We both work besides foster caring, and we absolutely do not do it for financial benefit.

Free Press Series: Debbie at her home in Llanellen

“This isn’t about that at all. We want to continue offering our home to as many foster children as possible for as long as we can, and the thought of not being able to do that really is upsetting.”

A spokeswoman for the Llanover Estate said: “We have tried to be as helpful as possible since September 2019 which is a year and a half ago.

“We have liaised closely with Monmouthshire County Council in the interests of one foster child who was being cared for last year.

“Debbie and John have decided until now not to return to their own home which they own. We wish them well for the future.”

You can visit the GoFundMe page at https://uk.gofundme.com/f/please-help-our-parents-continue-to-foster.